EHRC Homepage | New Category | Your Questions

In some respects, I consider myself to be more of an evolutionist than most secular evolutionists, in that the changes I think happened (for example 600 species of drosophila in the Hawaiian Islands) must have happened much more rapidly than is generally thought. Having said that, I must confess that I have no better idea for a mechanism than secular evolutionists.

For example, to cite the instance most often found in the literature and textbooks as an illustration of how evolution works, the story of the peppered moths. This account has been called by no less authority than Seawall Wright (1978) "...the clearest case in which a conspicuous evolutionary process has been actually observed." Yet not one detail of the story as it is generally presented is known to be correct. At this point, we do not know that birds are the major predators. They may be, but that crucial evidence is still lacking. Moths are active at night when most birds are not. We do know that the moths do not rest on the trunks of trees, and in fact at present we don't know where they rest, but the most likely scenario is they rest upside down on twigs high in the canopy. Photos illustrating them on tree trunks are the result of photographers either placing live torpid moths or pinning dead specimens there. We know that population shifts just like those in England have occurred in other places. However, in these other places, changes in the color of tree trunks were not associated, and pollution was not a factor.

Evolution is an important theory and gives the appearance of having great explanatory value, but when it comes right down to understanding the mechanism of what has happened in nature, evolutionary explanations too often deteriorate into "just-so" stories.

And I am so far dealing only with the parts of evolution that can be studied in the laboratory. If we are to consider a much more formidible topic, such as how changes from one "kind" of organism to another where additional information is needed (for example, the change from scales to feathers), evolutionary explanations tend to quickly detiorate into arm-waving exercises. See Lee Spetner's elaboration of the consequences for evolution from the perspective of an information theoretist in his book "Not by Chance" available through Amazon. Spetner examines every case up until the date of publication, where an increase in the information content of a cell as a result of evolutionary change has been claimed. Another book you might profitably consult is a Pergamon Press book by Wallace Arthur "The Origin of Animal Body Plans". In this book Arthur details the significant problems for any theory that purports to explain the mechanism of evolution of the major groups of animals.

Thus I agree with you, that there is a nice half a puzzle, although you and I may debate what some of the known elements are or mean. But the puzzle is far more complex than a lake and trees. It is a puzzle that is as complex as life itself that does not brook naive assumptions of an imminent solution. ______________________________________________________ Ó 2010 Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.